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When you know better, do better

June 6, 2020 1 Comment

When I read and heard the last words of George Floyd (“Please I can’t breathe”) my heart hurt. It was a physical response. My hand went to my chest, my eyes closed, I knelt. This is unbearable. This – pain, injustice, and the normalization of this pain and injustice – we cannot bear it anymore. The world is standing up.

Finally.

That is how most people feel. This is a stance I share. It’s not ok that we live in a world where it is normal that Black men and women are dying, and nothing has been done to change what has become a horrific pattern.

In addition to these senseless deaths, we live in a world where these everyday facts are normal too:

- Black women earn only 75 cents for every dollar paid to a white man, while white women earn 81 cents (Payscale, U.S).

- Just 8% of managers and 3.8% of CEOs are black (U.S. data). In the Fortune 500 companies, there are currently only three black chief executives, down from a high of 12 in 2002. 

- Black Canadian women may be under-screened for cervical and breast cancer, even though evidence from the United States and United Kingdom indicates Black women may be predisposed to worse outcomes from the disease. 

- Statistics from the Toronto Board of Education show that 20% of black students drop out of high school, double the rate for white (11%) and other racialized students (9%). And Black students are also more than twice as likely to take applied courses in high school, making advancing to university difficult—nearly half of them won’t even apply to post-secondary. (Behind the numbers)

By letting this kind of existence continue without fighting for change, I am complicit too. It’s long past time to do something about it.

Some of you may feel uncomfortable or uncertain of what to say, how to react, or even how to feel. That’s good. We must recognize that there is much we don’t know, and once we recognize that, we can start asking the questions that matter. We can find out the answers, we can learn, and we can make progress. Dr. Maya Angelou’s words will help:

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Start by educating yourself. Start to know and understand. Activism can take many forms, and you can help. To affect meaningful change, we all must.

Read:

Short:

Medium:

Long:

  • King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild – I think this is an especially important book. Racism is not just a problem in North America. This book shines a light on European colonialism, and dives deep into the horrific genocidal plundering of the Congo. I read this when I was 23, and it changed my life. As someone who loves, romanticizes, and travels frequently to Europe it was so important for me to understand this history. We cannot ignore it.

Watch:

Listen:

  • 1619 by The New York Times. An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.

Support:

To my black friends – I love you, and I stand with you in the fight against systemic racism and oppression in this world, and say that Black Lives Matter.

Thank you for reading xox

jocelyncaithness

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1 Comment

  • Lillian June 6, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Another great post.
    Great suggestions on the books. Will look for them.

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    About Me

    Hi, Friend!

    I'm Jocelyn: a daydreamer and fashion lover disguised as a finance professional. My head may be in the clouds, but my stilettos are firmly planted on the ground ;)

    Jocelyn Caithness

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